What makes Fernie special to you?
Fernie is special to me firstly because of my family, they are the reason I came here. I lived in the mountains in Italy so the mountains of Fernie felt like home. I didn’t like the snow as there was so much of it but now I like it, it is so pretty. I love the water and the air is so fresh and pure. Fernie is easy to walk around in and easy to meet people like a small town, in a city those things are very hard and you can’t do that. I have had a better life here in Fernie than I would have had in Italy.
What makes you proud to be Canadian?
Canada is good because it is fair and there is lots of opportunity. I am proud to be a Canadian, there is freedom, clean air, clean water and lots of space. It is an easier life in Canada, with better chances for education and my children and grandchildren have many more choices to do what they want to do with their lives. In Canada it is much easier to do things in nature like camping and travel, since it is so close.
What is your Fernie story?
My Mom and I travelled together here in 1966. My mother made the decision to come to Canada for us to join my two brothers and one sister who came here first. She wanted us to be together as a family. We left my one sister and her family behind thinking that they would be joining us in Canada later. They were denied immigration due to their son having Downs Syndrome, so they are in Italy still. When I got here I was not happy with all the snow and I couldn’t speak English so that was really hard. I went see the Doctor one day with my friend so she could translate for me and the doctor, Doctor East told her to go and that we would figure out what was needed. He started me on my way to learn English and that opened up a much better life for me. I worked in different restaurant kitchens when I was younger, Sophie and Mary’s, the Diamond Grill and the Motor Inn, I also worked at the Dry Cleaners. My husband Salvatore came to Fernie in 1968 and we were married in the Catholic Church here. He first worked at the sawmill in Galloway then later at Kaiser. Our children were born here in 1969 and 1972 in the old hospital. I have made many friends and later in my life I worked at Gabriella’s restaurant where I met even more people from all over. I love when all the family comes back to Fernie to visit and be together, my daughter Anna lives in Alberta with her family and my son Jim lives here in Fernie with his family. Fernie is my home.